Kwando Buffet Chinese restaurant: Snack or Yak

Kwandos, or “Heaven on EARTH” as it says on their website, is an Asian buffet-style restaurant that has been viewed as far from heavenly by many. I went to see if Kwandos is a snack, or is going to make you yak. The restaurant is located at 740 Mangrove Ave, tucked into the corner of the shopping center.

Upon entering, the restaurant is nicely decorated with a wide waiting area and a koi pond. You can admire the shiny fish while you wait for a staff member to help you. It took less than a minute for my partner and I to be seated. 

Koi Fish swimming in an indoor pond
Koi fish swimming in a small indoor wishing pond. “Taken by Meara Hain March 23.”

As soon as we got to our table, we got right back up to explore the unique buffet. There were various dishes to choose from, but I started my first plate at the controversial buffet sushi, chicken wings, plantains and chicken satay.

White plate filled with plantains, sushi and chicken
Plate filled with sushi, chicken wings and skewers and plantains. “Taken by Meara Hain March 23.”

The chicken was the perfect amount of greasy with crispy skin but lacked seasoning. The chicken satay made up for the wing’s lack of flavor with a rich smokey taste and tender meat. I love plantains and consider them one of the best things you can get at a restaurant, and Kwandos didn’t disappoint, the plantains were ripe and sweet. All the food at the hot bar was the perfect temperature to eat and steaming

Hot food par with steam
Hot food bar. “Taken by Meara Hain March 23.”

I was a little scared of the sushi since it is buffet style, and I was unsure of how long the fish had been sitting out, but all the raw seafood was sitting on ice. It was hard to tell which roll was which because they were clumped together, so I tried to grab one of each. The spicy tuna roll was the perfect amount of spicy and tasted fresh. As for all the other sushi, ew. The crab had grit, and most other rolls were covered in cream cheese. As for the nigiri — run the other way — the fish left a metallic taste in my mouth and had a gray tint. 

Sushi bar with different types of sushi
Sushi bar. “Taken by Meara Hain March 23.”

After the traumatizing sushi experience, we moved on to the more traditional Chinese options. They had stir-fry and different styles of dim sum, as well as chicken feet. 

Dim sum with oysters and steam
Dimsum and cheese covered oysters “Taken by Meara Hain March 23.”

I was too chicken to try the chicken feet, but the pork bao was fluffy and filled with sweet chewy pork. The smaller dumplings had a savory pork filling and tasted excellent with a side of soy sauce. 

We were starting to get full, so we skipped the wok area they had. Many different types of raw meats and seafood were sitting on the table. It wasn’t the most appealing part of the restaurant, but the tables around us got bowls filled with meat.

For dessert, I got a plate of fresh pineapple. It was cold and refreshing, as well as a soft serve from their self-serve station. It was the best way to end the trip, and we could take it to go. 

fruit and salad bar
Fruit and salad bar “Taken by Meara Hain March 23.”

There was a lot of food waste from our multiple trips to the buffet. Showing that if you were to go, think with your stomach, not your eyes. 

Our Thursday lunch cost us a grand total of $13.88, plus tax, but if you bring your student ID you get 10% off. 

Overall Kwandos was a snack, the food was authentic and there was a wide selection to choose from. There was a small problem with the freshness of the sushi, but everything else tasted fresh and they seem to change their food by the hour. I 100% recommend you at least try Kwandos once while you’re in Chico to experience their cheap, authentic food. 

Meara Hain can be reached at [email protected].